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The Right to Grieve: What You Need to Know About Bereavement Leave Under AB 1949 in California

Losing a close family member is never easy, and the last thing anyone wants to worry about during such a difficult time is work. As of this year, all California employers are mandated to grant up to five days of bereavement leave to employees who have suffered such a loss.


How do I know if I qualify for bereavement leave under AB 1949?

To qualify, you must have actively worked for your current employer for at least 30 days, and your employer must actively have at least five employees. Covered family members include a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, state-registered domestic partner, and parent in law.


Do I need to take this leave right away?

Employees have three months to take the five days of leave, and the days do not need to be taken consecutively. Each covered family member qualifies for up to five days of bereavement leave, so you need not worry about running out of time if more than one family member passes away.


For example, if one of your parents dies on February 1, and the other parent dies on March 1 of the same year, your employer is obligated to grant you up to 10 days of bereavement leave for those two deaths. However, you must take a maximum of five days of bereavement leave for each deceased family member within three months of their death. So, for the parent who passed away on February 1, you must use the five days of bereavement leave by May 1. Similarly, you must use the five days of bereavement leave for the parent who passed away on March 1 by June 1.


Is there required documentation that I need to provide?

Employers may require documentation of the family member's death within 30 days of the start of the leave to ensure compliance with the law. Acceptable documentation includes:

  • a death certificate,

  • a published obituary, or

  • written verification of death, burial, or memorial services from a mortuary, funeral home, burial society, crematorium, religious institution, or governmental agency.


Any information provided to your employer regarding bereavement leave must be kept completely confidential and cannot be shared with anyone without your consent.


Will I get paid during my time off?

Employers are not required to pay employees during their bereavement leave, though some may choose to do so.


Remember, employers are not permitted to retaliate against employees for utilizing their bereavement leave. The active utilization of this legal right is crucial for employees to take care of themselves and their families during these difficult times.


If you believe your employer violated your rights to bereavement leave under AB 1949 this year, the team at Payton Employment Law, PC can help. Contact us for a confidential review of your case.


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The information provided in this blog post does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. All content and information in this blog post are for general informational purposes only. Reading this blog post does not create or constitute an attorney-client relationship. An attorney-client relationship is only created by written agreement.


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